John 13:4-5, 14 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. (5) After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
(14) If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.
The word ‘servant’ has a very negative connotation in our society. It brings to mind people being subjected to practically inhumane treatment, of which no one would ever CHOOSE. However, the definition of the word is much more benign. A servant, by definition, is simply one who serves.
Jesus, not only commands us to serve, he sets the ultimate example for us. Not only in dying on the cross for our sins, but in the act found in our text today. To best understand this passage, we must better understand the context.
Walking was the primary mode of transportation for the common man during that day. Shoes were more like our sandals today, so feet got extremely dirty and sweaty while walking. Furthermore, many believe that dining was done in more of a lounging position so the feet of others could be very close to your face and plate. For that reason, washing feet prior to eating was customary.
If you could afford a servant, the servant would do the foot washing of guests. If no servant, then the low man on the totem pole was the one stuck with this awful job. In the case of Jesus coming together with his apostles to eat Jesus’ last passover meal, there would not have been a natural hierarchy.... with one obvious exception: Jesus was the king of Kings, Lord of Lords and the son of God, so he clearly was on top of the heap.
Instead of Jesus asking the others who was going to do the nasty job and having a dispute ensue to prove between all of the apostles that “I am too good to do that”, Jesus quietly put on an apron and quietly began the task.
After finishing the chore, he simply and succinctly states, “I have washed your feet, now you ought to wash one another’s feet” By saying this, Jesus is not stating a policy or mission of sanitary conditions for feet, but rather we should never let our pride get in the way of serving others.
Remember that Jesus said that we should love one other. But love in the Bible was never isolated to being a warm and fuzzy feeling, but rather activity. We are told that “God SO LOVED the world that he..... GAVE! Action!
If we are going to be like our savior, we must look out to help others in every way possible.
Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
We are seen for who we are and to whom we represent not by what we say necessarily but by our GOOD WORKS!
Look out today and try to help someone out. Pay for the groceries of the elderly lady behind you in line. Carry the heavy packages for the young mom with a couple of kids in tow. Opportunities exist everywhere .... we just have to open our eyes to them.